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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old June 26th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #1
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I do this everytime...

I just finished up on a shoot a couple days ago and I think I have done everything properly. I'm excited to get home to see my footage. I plug it up and begin capturing and then the heartbreak: green tinted shots, incredibly dark shots, just right shots.

Ahh, I just kinda sit there and wonder what I did wrong. I really wish there were a way to see what the previous's scene looked like before you shot another scene so you could match up everything as close as possible before you filmed it.

I start thinking back...

White balance...Check.
Aperature...Check.
Shutter speed...Check.
Gain...Check.

I don't know... I did everything but for some reason I still can't get a match out of it.

I end up discouraged and stubborn with my XL2, much like a married couple. In a few days, we start talking again. ;)

I need tips, bad. What order do you set your settings? White balance first? Gain first?

Just matching shots has became too much of a hassle. I can do it in post, but to get the colors right I have to sacrifice quality.

I'm eager to hear your responses.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 04:27 PM   #2
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Are you using the same lights, or are you changing locations and not WB at the next location, if yu are using available light? If you are using the same lighting and the same location, something is definitely amiss. Are you the only one operating the camera? is someone "playing a joke"? Are you using filters? Are you always shooting in manual? This helps avoid weirdness.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 04:29 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what you mean by green tinted shots, but that would imply that you shot under fluorescents without white balancing for them. Lots of fluorescents have a bit of green, and the only out of it is to white balance under them, or override them with your own lighting.

As for the dark shots, that would be underexposure. I find it easier to shoot with the zebras set at 75%. That way, you zebra on caucasian skin tones, or light blue dress shirts, or green grass, etc., ie., anything with that sort of neutral reflectance (you can invest in a Kodak gray card and use it if you're new to this), and you should be within a pretty good exposure range, unless of course the person you zoomed in on for zebra check is in the light and everything else is in shadows.

Remember that the zebras in your camera are simply a different sort of way to read a light meter, and the light meter is a reflective one. When using a reflective meter, if you take a reading off a white surface, it is going to tell the camera to stop down too much, because it wants to take that white exposure down to the 75% range. Conversely if you take a reading off a very dark object, the opposite happens--it wants you to open up too much.

When I first got into video from the film world, I was not accustomed to using a reflective meter, so I had an assistant hold a gray card all around the scene, and I'd take readings off the hot spots, the dark areas, the key, the backlight, etc. After some months with a gray card, I got accustomed to using the zebras off ordinary objects and no longere found the card necessary.

It also helps if you keep your viewfinder tweaked as to contrast and brightness. Put up your color bars and adjust the viewfinder for the conditions you're in (ie., brighter for shooting outdoors). That's not a 100 percent method, but what it does is let you know if the scene is overall within a decent range.

The reflective meter in your camera is like any other light meter--it's a guide, not a 100 percent guarantee of anything. You take your readings and then, based on your experience with the range of the particular camera (or film stock) you're using, you adjust up or down from what the meter says, or shoot what it says.

One thing to check is to be sure that all the automatic stuff is turned off. And, I belive Canon has that green button mode switch or something, ie., even if you think you're in manual, you may not be if in that mode. You can not shoot good quality video under all conditions with anything automatic on. Turn all of it off--auto iris, white balance, shutter, gain.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 09:45 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot for your responses, guys.

Mark,
It was all shot outdoors and within a car during the daytime. I was in manual mode, and I do believe I made a mistake with the white balance myself. I try to put the camera in standby mode as much as possible to keep all my settings, but I think I got caught up and ended up turning the camera off and not setting the white balance again when I turned the camera back on. That may have been what caused the green. The only filter I had on at the time was a UV filter.

Bill,

"As for the dark shots, that would be underexposure. I find it easier to shoot with the zebras set at 75%."

Little things like that are what I need. I need to know simple things. That will probably help me quite a bit. I'm glad you kinda went in depth on the zebra settings cause I never really knew the importance other then to tell you the correct exposure. I didn't know what setting the zebra level at different settings would do.

If you don't mind, could you give me a couple examples of zebra settings in different evironments? Indoors day/night, Outdoors day/night, Lots of light spill on charachter, Etc.?

Thanks again for your responses!
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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:54 PM   #5
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Travis,
Unless I'm mistaken, the XL2 saves the white balance preset on any of the three preset numbers, and they don't get erased if the camera is turned off.
Maybe on of the more experienced guys can clear this up.
Bruce Yarock
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Old June 27th, 2005, 01:09 AM   #6
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Bruce you are correct... It could have been faulty white balancing from the get go.

To follow up on Bill's response, the XL2 is only capable of dropping down to 80 on the Zebra levels.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 05:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Maynard
Thanks a lot for your responses, guys.

Mark,
It was all shot outdoors and within a car during the daytime. I was in manual mode, and I do believe I made a mistake with the white balance myself. I try to put the camera in standby mode as much as possible to keep all my settings, but I think I got caught up and ended up turning the camera off and not setting the white balance again when I turned the camera back on. That may have been what caused the green. The only filter I had on at the time was a UV filter.

...snip...

Thanks again for your responses!
Did you perhaps white balance under regular sunlight and then get into the car to shoot? Perhaps the tint you are seeing is a colour cast from the light shining through tinted windows (!). The human eye will easily compensate and your brain adjusts so you SEE white for white but whether film or video the camera is unforgiving and photgraphs the colour that the light really is.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #8
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Also be careful that when you go to push the standby button you do not accidentally hit the white balance button. They are very close to each other and easy to mix up if you are not careful. I usually find I accidentally put my camera into standby when I am actually trying to white balance! But I guess it could easily work the other way in which case you may have actually reset the WB instead of putting it in standby.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #9
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Steve,

That could very well have been my mistake considering the car did have tinted windows. I need to pay much closer attention.

Marty,

I have done that a couple times myself hah. I don't think I did it on this occasion but it's definitely something I need to watch out for.

Thanks guys!
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Old June 27th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #10
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White Balance Procedure

Travis,

You asked for the simple things. Just in case you don't know, here's the procedure to do manual white balance:

1. Establish your lighting -- without any gels or colored lights
2. Hold up a pure white card (white foam-core from a dept store will do) in the light where your main subject will be.
3. Zoom in to fill the frame with the white card.
4. Press the manual WB button on your camera.

If you're shooting outdoor in strong sunlight, you will need to balance often (to be safe -- once an hour) throughout the day as the color temperature will vary during the day. Be sure to do the WB where the subject will be. For example, if the subject is in the shade most of the time, then WB in the shade.

While Canon XL and GL series have very good auto WB, I prefer to always use a manual WB if I have time. It's really quite simple and will provide the best, most consistent shots.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 03:01 PM   #11
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Thanks Pete, That's the kind of stuff I need to know. WB in shadows and such I never really considered.

Maybe someone could help me with this.

When I'm messing with my aperature, I try to get rid of all the zebra lines, this ALWAYS ends up in an underexposed shot. WAY too dark. I took it that you were suppose to get ride of the zebra lines as much as possible to get correct exposure, but all I am doing it getting BAD underexposure with it.
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